what should we be focused on?
Ice breaker question:
Ask each group member to choose between two Thanksgiving favorites!
• Canned cranberry or homemade cranberry sauce?
• Pumpkin pie or apple pie?
• Yams or sweet potatoes?
o Fun fact: In the US, yams and sweet potatoes are the same thing. The yams you buy at the grocery store are simply orange-fleshed sweet potatoes. True yams are much different, used in the Caribbean and West Africa, and are difficult to buy in the US.
• Cool whip or whipped cream?
• Turkey or ham?
• Stuffing baked inside turkey or dressing cooked in a dish outside the turkey?
• Green bean casserole or squash?
A Penny for your Thoughts!
Distribute a penny to each member in your group or ask them to bring a penny with them to your small group. Each person will take a turn flipping their coin. The head side of the coin will represent heavenly thoughts, actions, and focus. The tail side will represent worldly thoughts, actions, and focus. As each person flips their coin, they will give an example of either heavenly thoughts & actions (Heads) or worldly thoughts & actions (Tails). After each person has had a turn to participate, challenge one another to keep the penny in a prominent place this week as a reminder to focus on heavenly things.
1. Read Colossians 2:11-14, 3:1-3, 10. How have we been “raised with Christ”?
(Intent: As Christ’s precious possession, we have a new focus, purpose, and life. We are no longer our own. “Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,” Rom. 6:8. For the Christian, being raised with Christ is a current reality and also has a future glorified dimension.)
2. A. Refer to Colossians 3:2. What are some “earthly things” upon which we can set our minds? See Galatians 5:19-21 and James 4:1-4. B. How about some “things above”? See Philippians 3:20. C. Pick one of the “things above” to put into focus this week.
(Intent: A. Some examples: Climbing the hierarchy at work, saving for that “dream house,” nurturing grudges, entertainment, self-indulgence; in other words—living our lives as though Jesus were an appendix. B. These are things that stem from an abiding passion and love for Christ. We want to be with Him, focus on His interests, and do what He is doing. It is the heart behind Bible study, prayer, loving others, serving the church, discipleship, and evangelism. C. Some specific examples are studying and meditating on: Christ’s sacrificial love demonstrated on the cross, the nature of heaven, an attribute of God, the perfection of Jesus, and what it means that the Lord has raised you from death to life. We serve Christ, not ourselves. We apply these disciplines through service to Him. Leader: If possible, text or call each member this week to see how they are doing with this self-commitment.)
3. Is there a danger of being “so heavenly minded that we’re of no earthly good”? Share your thoughts on this saying.
(Intent: The group should consider Scripture references to support their thoughts, such as Mt. 6:33, “Seek first His Kingdom...” From commentators Barclay and Robertson as quoted by the commentator Thomas Constable: “From now on, the Christian will see everything in the light [of] and against the background of eternity. He will see things, not as they appear to men, but as they appear to God. The Christian has to keep his feet upon the earth but his head in the heavens. He must be heavenly-minded here on earth and so help to make earth like heaven.”)
4. Refer to Colossians 3:3. How are our lives “hidden in Christ with God”?
(Intent: By faith, we live for an invisible Kingdom made visible to the world by its loyal subjects. Our metamorphosis from being of this world into what we now are and will become, like the butterfly, takes place in the secret or hidden place of the heart. See Ps. 51:5-6.)
5. Read Colossians 3:4. A. How is Christ “your life” now? B. How will that change for you in eternity?
(Intent: A. Some thoughts: We are to be consumed by Christ, with our highest affections directed at Him. We love Him supremely and desire to please Him. We glorify Jesus and base our views and actions on His teachings and commandments. In short, He is on the throne of our lives. Paraphrase from the Blue Letter Bible, Interlinear: This is a life real and genuine, a life active and vigorous, devoted to God, blessed in proportion to their devotion, for those who put their trust in Christ. B. Our thoughts and actions will be perfected because we will be like Him, I Jn. 3:2. Further, we will have glorified bodies.)
Referring to question 2C, prepare for action: Set aside a few minutes to plan how and when you will focus on that “thing above” this week. At next week’s meeting, share your topic and an insight you gained by studying and meditating on it.
Set some specific time apart to pray and ask the Lord to give you one specific “heavenly” thing to focus on this week. Ask Him for insight and wisdom as you study and meditate on that topic. We must always remember that our drive and dedication are powerless without our complete dependence upon the Lord. Ask Him to enable and strengthen you in your commitments to Him as you fix your gaze on things above.